M&B pub wins battle for fruit machines after failing tests

By Alice Leader contact

- Last updated on GMT

Appeal victory: despite failing tests for underage gambling, a pub has been allowed to retain its gambling licence (credit: Marathon)
Appeal victory: despite failing tests for underage gambling, a pub has been allowed to retain its gambling licence (credit: Marathon)

Related tags: Mitchells & butlers, Gambling, Undercover

A Mitchells & Butlers pub has won an appeal to keep its gaming machine permit after failing two undercover purchase tests.

Redbridge Council cancelled the appeal hearing on Thursday 23 January, and allowed the Toby Carvery Snaresbrook in east London to retain the current permit without penalty.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “As a result of the measures taken, it was felt unnecessary to hold a further hearing.

“Licensing enforcement officers will continue to monitor the business to make sure the new measures are working.”

Without a challenge

During 2019, the licensing officers carried out an under-age test purchase visits at the pub to check the availability of licensed gaming machines to children.

The premises failed a test purchase on the first occasion in January 2019 and a written warning and compliance advice was given and responded to.

After training and measures were implemented by the premises, a further visit was undertaken in June. However, this resulted in another failure where two test purchase volunteers, aged 14 and 15 years old, were able to again play on a Category C gaming machine without being challenged by staff.

But, since the illegal activity took place, the council worked with the pub to address the issues and has taken action to retrain staff, as well as review and improve its management systems to identify under-age users.

Robust measures

The pub has also introduced a ‘Challenge 21’ age policy and has reprogrammed machines to warn players of age restriction, as well as displaying posters to this effect in public and staff areas.

The council spokesman continued: “We, therefore, considered the company had done enough to meet the standard set by the licensing sub committee in a previous hearing.” 

A Mitchells & Butlers spokesperson: “We’re pleased with the council’s decision for us to retain our current permit following the comprehensive evidence we submitted.

“This matter is very important to us and we have robust measures in place to prevent under-age gambling. We look forward to working closely and building a strong relationship with Redbridge Council going forward.”

Related topics: Mitchells & Butlers

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